WEEKEND READING: Maybe there’s life to print after all — at least for Saturday and Sunday.

Bucking every imaginable trend, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal found circulation increases for their weekend editions, according to The Audit Bureau of Circulation’s semiannual report released today.

This story first appeared in the November 2, 2011 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Circulation for the Journal’s Saturday edition was up 7 percent year over year, according to ABC. The Journal’s Saturday edition — which is referred to as WSJ Weekend — now has a circulation of 1,488,162, up from the 1,389,069 that was reported in September 2010. In addition, single-copy sales went up 3 percent for the Weekend edition. The timing suggests that the Journal’s big bet on expanding its Saturday paper in September 2010 — it introduced sections like Off Duty and Review —is paying off. Deborah Needleman has overseen Off Duty and the Saturday Journal’s insert magazine, WSJ., over the past 15 months. WSJ. Magazine increased its frequency in March from six issues to nine issues a year.

Meanwhile, for the first time in five years, the Times saw an increase in home delivery print circulation, thanks to its Sunday edition. The paper saw a slight 0.2 percent uptick, with a print home delivery circulation of 992,383 for its Sunday paper. This increase can be directly traced to the Times’ online paywall. Shortly after the Times put up the paywall in March, Times executives said they were noticing an increase in print subscriptions, particularly for its cheaper weekend option. It seems that for at least a couple of thousand people, it just made sense to get the Sunday paper thrown in if they were going to wind up paying for Times content online anyway (all print subscribers get online content for free).

Digital circulation for the Times for Monday to Friday came in at 380,003 and for Sunday, it was 371,933. The Journal’s paid digital circulation is 537,469.

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